Weekend Preview – Brands Hatch Grand Prix

The final round of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship will once again take place at the historic Brands Hatch circuit on the Grand Prix layout. The sight of many spectacular racing moments over the years, Brands Hatch will once again be the venue where the 2016 champion will be crowned after one of the closest and most thrilling championships in history. Two final races will take place during the course of the weekend with many places still yet to be settled. With some drivers coming to the end of their Ginetta Junior career, they’ll be keen to finish on a high and put themselves in the shop window for team in other series who will be keeping a close eye on the series. Former drivers have gone onto find great success in both single seaters and GT Racing and benefit from these teams being present on the British Touring Car Championship support series programme.

Brands Hatch has been famous for its thrilling overtaking places down the years with the daring move into Paddock Hill Bend being one of the most fabled. The run up into Druids is also a popular spot with the uphill nature of the entry leading to many late braking moves. The fast-flowing section of the Grand Prix circuit is a real challenge for the drivers and can throw up some close racing and potential overtaking moves if anyone makes a mistake. Past champions have usually thrived on closing out the season at Brands Hatch with many crowning their season with a victory. However, there have been many career best results achieved at the final race of the season with the pressure off the drivers after a long, gruelling season. Both Dave Wooder and Charlie Fagg achieved this last season and will be hoping that this speed translates into another good weekend this season. Once again it has been an incredible year in the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship and the drivers will be eager to put on one final show as the season reaches its conclusion.


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Weekend Preview – Silverstone

The penultimate round of the 2016 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship will take place at the legendary Silverstone circuit. Once again the drivers will challenge the high-speed national layout which has been a favourite over the years due to its fast, flowing nature and extremely competitive racing. For the final time this season, there will be three races taking place during the course of the weekend giving the drivers an extra opportunity to impress as the season draws to a close. In recent memory we have seen brilliant racing at Silverstone with the draft being pivotal to success as the leader is usually unable to break away from the chasing pack. This can lead to a great number of overtakes during the race, many coming into the braking zone following the back straight where drivers can use the draft effectively. The audacious move into Copse corner has also been utilised in recent years with the extensive runoff area on the exit of the corner aiding drivers if they make a mistake.

With one of the shortest laps on the calendar at Silverstone, testing isn’t as vital as at other tracks with the circuit being relatively easy to learn and get up to speed on. This means qualifying is often highly competitive with the larger teams using the draft to give each of their drivers the best chance at sealing pole position. Champions have generally had a good run at Silverstone with the last two overall winners both having taken at least one victory at Silverstone. However, with three races this weekend it may be more important to collect three solid finishes to avoid any retirements during the course of the event. Due to the drafting nature of the races, this can throw up some unpredictable results with Lewis Brown and Connor Grady both collecting their first top-10 result in their rookie seasons at Silverstone. The championship could be decided this weekend but it will take a brilliant effort to seal the crown with one round still remaining.


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Weekend Preview – Rockingham

Following another thrilling weekend’s action at Knockhill, the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship heads to Rockingham. For the fourth time this season, three races will be contested over the course of the weekend with qualifying moved forward to Saturday morning before two races later that day. This’ll pose a challenge to drivers and teams alike with Rockingham usually featuring entertaining races as the championship battle reaches a pivotal stage. Overtaking isn’t usually an issue at the Northamptonshire based track with the turn one hairpin at the end of the banked oval giving way to many spectacular moves over the years. The final chicane has also been a source of action with a tense finish in 2013 decided by a last lap manoeuvre at this corner.

Drivers usually participate in a great deal of winter testing at Rockingham and many will be hoping for changeable conditions to mix up the field. However, this has rarely been the case in recent years with September sunshine regularly greeting the track. Championship contenders usually have a good run at Rockingham with Jamie Caroline taking the lead of the championship at the venue last year following a weekend where he won both races. In previous years we have seen rookie drivers enter for the first time at this stage of the season as they are able to run the final three rounds of the year and still be in contention for rookie honours the following campaign, we may see this happen once again in 2016. Stuart Middleton was the standout performer at Rockingham last season after finishing both races in second place to collect career best finishes at the time; this was the beginning of a huge run of form for the Douglas Motorsport driver at the end of 2015. With Rockingham seeing the least amount of retirements over the course of the past two seasons, drivers will be hoping to maintain this record with three gruelling races ahead this weekend.


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Weekend Preview – Knockhill

The seventh round of the 2016 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship will take place north of the border at Knockhill. A venue which is loved by drivers and fans alike, Knockhill is one of the shortest circuits on the calendar and will host three races for the first time this season as part of the new championship structure. This will mean the Knockhill round in the series is more crucial than ever in deciding the overall champion with a clear picture of the championship contenders likely to emerge after this weekend. The racing has a reputation for being close and competition with around one second separating all of the drivers during qualifying last year. Because of this, track position will be very important although the final hairpin does pose a useful overtaking opportunity with drivers who have confidence under braking being able to gain the best advantage.

Knockhill is one of the circuits which offers very limited testing opportunities to the drivers, both pre-season and on the run up to the event with many drivers just benefiting from the two scheduled test sessions on Friday. This usually means that rookie drivers struggle due to their lack of track time and experience at a circuit which can be incredibly tough to master, and in 2015 no rookie drivers stood on the overall podium during the course of the weekend. With a brilliant drive from 20th through to seventh last season, Stuart Middleton will be one of the favourites ahead of the weekend as his experiences racing in tough situations will set him up well. Lewis Brown and Kyle Hornby also enjoyed good weekends last year and will be eager to collect their first victory north of the border. The battle amongst the rookie drivers will also continue with more fireworks expected ahead of the triple header at Knockhill.

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King takes maiden win as Tregurtha regains championship lead at Snetterton

Will Tregurtha has asserted himself as the new leader of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship with an impressive double podium result at Snetterton. Taking advantage of a challenging weekend for rival Middleton, Tregurtha drove with great maturity during the meeting and was unlucky to miss out on a victory. It was a weekend where the rookies shone, with Dan Harper claiming victory during race one before Elite Motorsport driver Harry King took his first career win in race two after a post-race penalty for Harper.

Drivers took to the challenging Snetterton circuit on Friday for their two test sessions in preparation for the weekend. With a long summer break, drivers were familiarising themselves with the Ginetta G40 after a number of weeks away and this reflected in the times with improvements all throughout the first session. It was HHC Motorsport’s Lewis Brown who ended the session quickest ahead of teammates Will Tregurtha and Tom Gamble as the highest placed rookie in third. The second session brought much change with Tom Gamble leading the way ahead of Dan Harper and championship leader Stuart Middleton. An impressive weekend for Enzo Fittipaldi continued with the Brazilian in fourth following his first ever single seater test earlier in the week.

With two races taking place at Snetterton, drivers were given an additional free practice session on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying. Times continued to tumble during the session with many drivers utilising the draft to help gain lap time. At the end of the 15 minute session it was Douglas Motorsport’s rookie driver Dan Harper who topped the times ahead of Dave Wooder and Lewis Brown.

Qualifying took place later in the afternoon with the battle for pole position wide open. Track conditions were dry after some late morning rain cleared with a hectic qualifying ahead. Initially it was Will Tregurtha who set the fastest time in his HHC Motorsport Ginetta, but he was quickly beaten by impressive rookie Harry King. Times continued to improve throughout the 15 minute session with Tregurtha pulling out a stunning lap to claim pole position with experienced teammate Lewis Brown alongside him. King held on to take his and the team’s best ever starting position in third with Dan Harper and Dave Wooder rounding out the top-5. Despite dominating in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, championship leader Stuart Middleton could only manage eighth and was hopeful of making progress during the races.

Race one of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon with Will Tregurtha starting from pole. The HHC Motorsport driver made a great start and led the opening lap ahead of Dan Harper with Lewis Brown in third. After a quiet start to the weekend, Dave Wooder was on the charge and he rose to third by the end of lap two with impressive rookie Harry King following him past Brown. Lap three saw the decisive move for the lead as Harper went to the front with Wooder following him through. Tregurtha was determined to get stuck in and re-took second position on lap five, whilst his championship rival Middleton was stuck down in 10th position. The lead battle intensified with the top-3 drivers all covered by just one second as the final lap commenced with Harper searching for his second career victory. Despite strong pressure from his rivals, Harper held on to claim the win ahead of Wooder who passed Tregurtha on the final lap. Harry King achieved his career best result in fourth with Lewis Brown and Kyle Hornby completing the top-6 positions.

The second race of the weekend began on Sunday with good conditions once again gracing Snetterton. It was a hectic opening lap with the top positions changing at almost every corner with Will Tregurtha taking the lead from a fast-starting Kyle Hornby. Lap two saw Dan Harper move into the runner-up position with Harry King recovering from a slow start to climb back into third. On lap four, Harper made the crucial move for the lead and started to open up a gap out front as Tregurtha was forced to defend from Dave Wooder who was making his way up the order, with the TCR driver taking the position on the following lap. Wooder look set to finish in second but he made a late lunge on Harper on the final lap which lost him ground, elevating rookie Harry King into second and Tregurtha back onto the podium. This gave Harper breathing room out front as he crossed the line to take what he thought would be a stunning double victory. Unfortunately a post-race penalty for the Douglas Motorsport driver dropped him to third with King inheriting a surprise win ahead of Tregurtha. Lewis Brown’s consistent season continued with a fine fourth, ahead of Kyle Hornby who collected his best result of the season in fifth.

Once again Snetterton has failed to disappoint with great battles throughout the field of Ginetta Junior drivers. With his impressive performances during the weekend, Will Tregurtha has assumed the championship lead ahead of Middleton, with Lewis Brown remaining in third. Dan Harper had a great weekend in his Douglas Motorsport machine as he asserted himself as the top rookie driver. Harry King was the standout performer after two excellent results and he will be targeting further progress when the series moves to Knockhill in a couple of weeks’ time.

Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship standings after Snetterton:

1st – Will Tregurtha 377

2nd – Stuart Middleton 352

3rd – Lewis Brown 299

4th – Dave Wooder 293

5th – Dan Harper 263

6th – Geri Nicosia 216

7th – Seb Priaulx 187

8th – Charlie Fagg 168

9th – Harry King 162

10th – Tom Gamble 160

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Weekend Preview – Snetterton

Following another exciting race meeting in the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship at Croft, the series returns to Snetterton after a short summer break. With the championship picture taking shape, drivers will be keen to build up some momentum as the second half of the season gets underway. The Norfolk circuit will host two races during the course of the weekend on the longest layout which the drivers will face during the course of the season. With a mixture of corners at Snetterton, the young racers will have many opportunities to overtake but also to make mistakes. The best overtaking place will be into the Montreal Hairpin or at the end of the long back straight into Nelson. As the race is run during the height of summer, the driver’s stamina will be tested with hot conditions usually gracing the drivers with the event serving as a test of endurance.

As Snetterton hosts the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, many rookie drivers would’ve spent time at the track racing as well as testing, although in very different conditions to the ones faced by the drivers this weekend. Harry King and Max Bird showed excellent speed during this event and will be eager to replicate this at the upcoming races. The information they would’ve gained will be crucial to success at the track where qualifying has become increasingly important in recent years. In the last two years, drivers who have qualified in the top-3 positions have gone on to take the victory, this is because the field is often strung out during the tight first half of the lap, preventing drivers who qualified at the rear from making up ground early on. The eventual Ginetta Junior champion has only won one of the last six races at Snetterton since 2013 so this could indicate we are in for a surprise as the series heads to the track this weekend.



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Middleton re-claims championship lead with double victory at Croft

Stuart Middleton has retaken the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship lead with two victories this weekend at Croft. The Douglas Motorsport driver looked in imperious form during the first half of the weekend after he secured pole position and claimed both wins on Saturday. However, a retirement during race three on Sunday saw his rival Tregurtha take victory and close the championship gap to just four points. Lewis Brown experienced a great weekend and has climbed to third in the standings with Dan Harper and Seb Priaulx the standout performers in the rookie class.

With three races taking place at Croft, drivers knew they had to make full advantage of their two test sessions on Friday in preparation for the weekend. In the opening session, drivers got to grips with the circuit with Cameron Roberts looking impressive as he topped the times ahead of championship contenders Stuart Middleton and Dave Wooder. Olli Caldwell was the highest rookie driver for JHR Developments in fourth; he has previously contested a couple of test sessions but is yet to compete in a race weekend. The second session was also hotly contested with Stuart Middleton continuing his strong pace from the first session to finish quickest ahead of teammate Dan Harper and Dave Wooder. The HHC Motorsport pair of Charlie Fagg and Will Tregurtha rounded out the top-5 places.

Drivers were thrown straight into qualifying on Saturday morning with cool track conditions, especially in comparison to last year’s events in Yorkshire. Initially, it was championship rivals Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha who instantly went to the top of the times with Enzo Fittipaldi solidly placed inside the top-10. As the session progressed, drivers found it increasingly hard to improve their times with Middleton claiming his second pole position of the season ahead of Tregurtha and Wooder. Seb Perez was a strong fourth with Seb Priaulx rounding out the top-5 places. Charlie Fagg was sixth just ahead of rookie Dan Harper, with newcomer Olli Caldwell showing excellent pace in ninth.

The first race of the weekend was held early Saturday afternoon with Middleton looking to claim victory at his home track. Starting from pole position, the Douglas Motorsport driver made the best possible start as he led the opening lap whilst rivals Tregurtha and Wooder dropped to the rear of the field. This promoted Seb Priaulx to second with Middleton’s teammate Dan Harper into third. Lap two saw the retirement of Wooder following his early incident, with Dhyllan Skiba suffering the same fate a lap later. Both Cameron Roberts and Lewis Brown were making their way forward after disappointing qualifying session as both drivers entered the top-10 by the halfway stage of the race. A tame race in comparison to many Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship events so far this season was enabling Middleton to feel comfortable in the lead as he held a gap of a little over a second ahead of Priaulx. Despite a late challenge from the Guernsey driver, Middleton secured his fourth victory of the season ahead of Priaulx and Harper who took the first two positions on the rookie podium. Charlie Fagg finished fourth with the drive of the race arguably going to Olli Caldwell which finished fifth on his debut and collected a rookie trophy as a result.

Race two of the weekend took place later in the afternoon with Middleton starting on pole position following his victory in the opening race. Once again the Douglas Motorsport driver made a fantastic start and led the first lap from Dan Harper with Priaulx in third. After his excellent debut race, Caldwell had a tricky first lap and dropped down to 15th for JHR Developments. On lap three Dave Wooder’s recovery driver was looking good as he entered the top-15 after passing teammate Connor Grady. By the halfway mark, the TCR driver was into 13th with Will Tregurtha rising up to sixth after his troubles in the opening race. The second race of the weekend also saw relatively calm driving from the majority of drivers, however on the final lap a number of positions changed inside the top-10 with Charlie Fagg dropping down the order after contact from another driver. Out front, Stuart Middleton was showing champions qualities as he took his second victory of the day ahead of equally impressive rookies Dan Harper and Seb Priaulx. Lewis Brown finished fourth after an excellent start with Tregurtha in fifth and Tom Gamble rounding out the rookie podium places.

The third and final race of the weekend took place on Sunday with Lewis Brown on pole due to the partial reversal of the grid. Brown made a fantastic start and took a clear lead going into the first turn where chaos ensued as Middleton, Gamble, Hornby and Fagg all ended up in the gravel. Only Charlie Fagg was able to re-join the race with damage to his bonnet as the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken cars. This promoted Tregurtha to second and Geri Nicosia to third at the restart with the JHR Developments driver enjoying his best run to date. On lap four Dave Wooder made his way into the podium places but Nicosia stayed close behind the TCR driver as they hunted down the lead pair. After substantial pressure from Tregurtha, the second year driver took the lead on lap seven with Brown staying in the tyre tracks of his teammate. Despite being unable to break away from the field, Will Tregurtha held on to claim his fourth victory of the season with Brown on the podium for the fourth time in 2016. Dave Wooder ended a challenging weekend with a podium in third ahead of Nicosia who picked up his career best finish in fourth, with Cameron Roberts driving from the back to finish fifth. A great drive from Enzo Fittipaldi saw him pick up his first ever rookie win in eighth ahead of Dan Harper and Tom Wood.

Croft has once again provided some thrilling battles throughout the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship field with the triple-header of races throwing up some incredible races. Courtesy of his two victories, Stuart Middleton is back on top of the standings by just four points ahead of Tregurtha who took victory in race three. Lewis Brown’s consistent weekend has lifted him to third and you can’t rule him out of the championship fight with a number of triple headers remaining in the season. Dan Harper has solidified his position as the leading rookie with two further podiums ahead of Seb Priaulx who also took a pair of overall podiums at Croft. The next round of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship takes place at Snetterton following the summer break.

Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship standings after Croft:

1st – Stuart Middleton 324

2nd – Will Tregurtha 320

3rd – Lewis Brown 257

4th – Dave Wooder 244

5th – Dan Harper 210

6th – Geri Nicosia 188

7th – Seb Priaulx 168

8th – Cameron Roberts 159

9th – Charlie Fagg 156

10th – Tom Gamble 138


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